A local organization has painted the town red. Not literally, but Annapolis-based Heart Health Foundation is making its message loud and clear.
That message—awareness of heart and vascular disease—can't be missed, whether it's the banners in downtown Annapolis, at Annapolis Towne Centre or events at area schools and businesses. Like other months that are designated to bring awareness of particular diseases, February has become synonymous with heart disease.
Cathy Samaras, a spokesperson for the Heart Health Foundation, explained how and why she got involved with the organization. Her husband, George Samaras, is the chief of the Department of Medicine at Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC).
"Four years ago Oprah happened to be on the TV and I heard Barbra Streisand say loud and clear, 'Did you know that heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined?'" she said. "That's a huge knock on the head."
According to Cathy, the Heart Health Foundation was the brainchild of John Martin, a vascular surgeon and director of the AAMC Vascular Institute.
Through the end of February, Heart Health Foundation will provide health screenings free of charge.
"Everyone that takes it [a screening] gets a call from a physician that night to tell you if you need to be seen again," Cathy said. "Every single penny that's raised for Heart Health goes towards this program."
A special event is also being held Thursday evening, Valentine's Day, at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis featuring the group Foreplay. (A PDF with details is attached to this article.) Note the event is just for those 21 and older.